Condition: Chalazion (meibomian cyst)2018-09-18T12:43:04+00:00

Chalazion (meibomian cyst)

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There are different treatment options available for this condition and the most common ones are listed below:

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What is a chalazion or meibomian cyst?

A chalazion (also known as meibomian cyst) appears as a lump on the eyelid. A common condition, it is benign and easily recognised and diagnosed. It can be treated either medically or surgically.

The condition typically presents as an inflamed swelling in the eyelid caused by a blocked oil duct (meibomian gland). Each eyelid contains over 25 of these oil secreting ducts (located in the tarsal plates) which open onto the eyelid margin and secrete oil into the tear film, helping to stop tears evaporate. If just one duct gets blocked, oil accumulates and may cause a painful, inflamed lump.

Very rarely, a chalazion may masquerade and in fact be a tumour called a meibomian gland carcinoma or sebaceous cell carcinoma, particularly if the chalazion doesn’t go away with incision and curettage surgery or appears solid at surgery, in which case a biopsy is taken.



The eyelids are examined both macroscopically (naked eye) and with magnification (slit lamp) to determine whether it is an acute or quiet chalazion, whether there is any associated blepharitis or meibomianitis or any other problems.

To decide whether medical or surgical treatment is required, the oculoplastic surgeon will examine the eyelid, both on its skin side and evert it to see its underside. Whilst this is being done, the eyes should be open and the patient looking down. Everting the lid does not hurt. A chalazion has a typical “grey” appearance on the underside of the eyelid which helps to confirm the diagnosis. Particular attention is taken in the examination to exclude a malignant tumour. If there is any doubt, a biopsy is reccomended.


An inflamed chalazion may eventually settle with regular application of antibiotic ointment onto the eyelid margin for two to three weeks (sometimes longer) and hot compresses or hot wooden spoon bathing (the heat and massage significantly reduce the inflammation).

If the chalazion persists after medical treatment, surgical treatment is necessary. The surgical treatment of a chalazion is known as “incision and curettage” (I+C), and is performed under local anaesthetic. The procedure involves making an opening in the cyst, cleaning the contents out and resecting a small section of the cyst wall.First the skin is cleaned. A drop of local anaesthetic is applied onto the eye surface and then further local anaesthetic is injected into the skin above the chalazion.


A small clamp is put in place and the eyelid is everted (some pressure or pulling may be felt, but no pain). A blade is used to incise the chalazion from the underside of the eyelid. In rare cases a small incision on the outer eyelid may be necessary.


Old inflammatory debris is drained from the cyst and the cavity is curetted.  This results in an empty, clean meibomian duct after surgery.


After the incision and curettage procedure, the eyelid is padded with antibiotic ointment for up to 24 hours, with a regimen of ointment application for between five and ten days after surgery.

At Clinica London, Jane Olver, Jaheed Khan, and Laura Crawley treat chalazia.

Video: What is a chalazion and how can you treat it?

“Dr. Jane Olver was fantastic! She was so caring and sweet and it was clear that she knew what she was doing – very professional! I am absolutely over the moon with my results now!”

Toni C.

“Jane Olver is your woman – I wish I had found her at the start. I will be forever grateful for her care and expertise.”

Nancy W.

“Just wanted to thank you for your exceptional assistance with my eye condition. I was so worried but you really helped me feel at ease.”

David T.

“I felt much better after speaking to you and being reassured. I am much calmer and actually got some sleep last night.”

Catherine M.
“I was deeply impressed by the politeness and empathy shown to me. I found the surgery very peaceful and beautifully decorated and I hope to see Jane again soon.”
Jeffrey W.
“I highly recommend Jane Olver. The whole experience was calm and highly professional.”
Lorraine M.
“I am writing to you to say thank you to you, Cloe and Jane for taking care of me this week. You were all really lovely and professional and I am very grateful. Big cheer for The Clinica London Team.”
Rick A.
“Many thanks for taking care of my ptosis surgery today. I am now back home and resting but wanted to send a quick note to thank you for taking such good care of me.”

“The treatment was a great success; within 24 hours of starting the treatment the pain and swelling subsided and as a result, I was able to enjoy a great holiday in Argentina.”
“Thank you, my eye is recovering brilliantly (you almost can’t see I had it). Jane was amazing, please pass on a huge thank you.”
“Many thanks to Mr Khan. His prompt diagnosis and explanation was very reassuring indeed.”
Heather M.
“Dr Khan and Ingrid both put me at ease, talked me through the procedure, the aftercare, gave general tips/advice for maintaining a healthy/clean eye and were really friendly, whilst being professional throughout.”

“Just keep up the good work Dr. Khan. My wife, who accompanied me, and I were both very impressed by the care and consideration shown by the whole team when I had surgery. The care of this team has made it a wonderful experience for me.”
David S.
“Thank you for your help during the year.”
Julia S.
“Just a quick note for saying thanks for looking after my Mum so wonderfully as she was very worried about the appointment and you really made such a big difference to the experience.”
Sven K.

“Thank you very much for seeing me yesterday, you were marvellous and a pride to the NHS.”

Mariah P.
“I was treated with great courtesy and kindness, and everything was explained to me in layman’s terms so I could fully understand my condition. I was immensely impressed.”


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